Truly accomplished gardeners – especially those who follow the intense market garden practices – would sow beets like crazy, scattered almost haphazardly without concern for the symmetry of rows. Truly accomplished gardeners would use beets as part of a rotation of crops, interplanting them, thinning them, moving them, encouraging the overlapping of leaves for the cooling impact on the soil around the swelling roots.
I am not truly accomplished so I plant in rows.
Ultimately, you want beets to be about 3 inches apart from one another on all sides with the leaves brushing one another gently, fanning the soil and keeping the heat down. Beets grow with their tops exposed (beets gone wild) just slightly and they are demure little things – keep em covered!
Get the soil turned and loosened to about 6 inches with a pitchfork or shovel or your bare hands so that you’ll never get the dirt out from underneath your fingernails no matter how long you soak them in the tub while your son is in there. Get rid of any rocks (I had lots) and make sure you’ve broken up any soil clumping parties.
I used a stake to make a shallow indentation of about 1/4 inch. Drop your seeds in (soaked the night before) and space them a few inches apart. Cover lightly. Go buy yourself some vinegar and wait…
These beets are what I’m using for the Growing Challenge.